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It Comes At Night (Blu-ray Review)

When It Comes At Night released this past summer it was met with much approval upon the critical reviews. However, once those pesky general audiences got their hands on it, it was seen as all of a sudden being divisive and controversial. They hated it. Using the Tomato meter, the critics wound up giving it an 89% (Acutal: 7.4/10) while the general audiences saw it to be more of a 44% (4.4/10). One very fresh the other very rotten. Primarily, this happens when a film is “different”, unique, outside the box and tries something newer. In this case, the crime might have been assuming that the audiences that were going to buy a ticket to see it generally were smart.

Film 

17-year-old Travis, secure within a desolate home with his protective and heavily armed parents, watches his world abruptly change with the arrival of a desperate couple and their young child. Panic and mistrust grow as the dangers of the outside world creep ever closer… but they may be nothing compared to the dangers within.

Kudos to Trey Edward Shults. Seriously, that’s how I’m starting this review. The man has fully realized the film culture we are in and where we have been. He gives you the audience credit and does so in a smart way. Shults has realized we’ve seen a zillion post apocalyptic wasteland kind of movies revolving around zombies, epidemics, whatever it is that has cleared the Earth. Its a tool and background for a story and focus and he doesn’t have to waste time on explanations, reasons, history or other superfluous stuff, we can just pretty much figure out all that ambiance on our own.

The horrors come in the execution of showing humanity pushed to the brink. A complete sheltering and distrust among anything but your innermost inner or inner circles.  Its the sorta thing that George Romero established and did so well in his first four zombie films. No matter what the monster is, or how shit the world has gone to, its the humans who are the true monsters and deliver the horrors. In the case with this film, you almost feel most comfortable in the confrontation scenes as the ones with all the characters playing nice and being “normal” have you wondering and on edge as to when its all going to go to hell.

Joel Edgerton continues to carve himself an interesting career with the choices he makes. While this role isn’t too much of a stretch for his abilities (Its a part we’ve sort of seen him play to different degrees), he’s the perfect driving force for the film Kelvin Harrsion Jr is the one who truly shines though and seems to be the eyes with which we see this world.  He’s an interesting presence and really is an interesting, unpredictable character and actor in terms of his approach and where things go with him. Christopher Abbott from Girls is just a guy I never feel I like or trust no matter what he’s in, so I guess he fits here.

I’ve long been a fan of these movies where there’s something bigger going on and we are seeing a really small, personal story snapshotted within it. Its baffling to me that general audiences found this movie that polarizing. Its a really engaging, well acting, deep and fully put together story. Was it because they thought there was going to be some sort of monster in it or something? I’m lost here. Sound off in the comments if you thought this terrific little post apocalyptic horror thriller was anything but awesome.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-25

Clarity/Detail: It Comes At Night comes with a very nice transfer here to debut with on Blu-ray. Its a nice dark image that is pretty rich in detail and plenty sharp. From the make-up to wood grains and the distinct look of the dirt in the woods, this image is plenty strong and really helps to embellish on the dread and emptiness in the world looming on every frame.

Depth:  This is a nice, free image with good distancing between the foreground and background objects. Movements are smooth, cinematic and feature no jitter or blurring problems that I could see.

Black Levels: Its a deep, dark image, but details and figures can still be good in the darkness with no loss of detail that isn’t intended. Dark rooms or ones lit by lantern look really spooky and work well in this image. No crushing was witnessed during this viewing for the review.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t a largely colorful film, but it gets the natural side down well with a rich and bold image on the rustic look of everything. Greens are a nice stand out as well are the roaring orange of the fire when things/bodies are burned up.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and carry that look from the start of the film until the finish. From the start with a close up on grandpa’s virus ridden face, you can see every little boil, blemish, defect and odd tint to go along with stubble, wrinkles, moles and more.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanih

Dynamics: Its Comes At Night is a sneakily quiet movie. While there are loud sounds in the film, they are built and used with surprise, though they do knock the door down when they want a jump or something action-based. Don’t snooze on the quiet moments though, as this track really knows how to decorate a room with its audio.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Gun blasts, door slams, windows breaking and punches landing all give good bumps on your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: As I mentioned earlier, this track can really paint a picture in your ears. Ambiance works very well from the rear channels and they also get to freak you out at times with some sounds of their own. Sound travel and accuracy to what’s going on onscreen is on point.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crisp and clear with good diction from the actors.

Extras 

It Comes At Night includes an UltraViolet digital copy.

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer/Director Trey Edward Shults and Actor Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Human Nature: Creating It Comes At Night (HD, 29:37) – A full on look back at the film with good interviews (That I think were mostly on set or press tour in nature) that focus on where the idea for this came from as well as the approach and shoot of the film. For being the only featurette, this really suffices as pretty good.

Summary 

Not sure why this is a divisive and controversial movie, but oh well. I’m very much on the positive side of it all and think its one of the more interesting, unique movies of the year. This Blu-ray looks and sounds quite well to go along with some good enough bonus features to wet your appetite. With a good price point, It Comes At Night comes as an easy recommend for your collection from me.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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